The Green Outcomes Fund (GOF) is an organisation that supports and incentivises local South African fund managers to increase their investments in green SMMEs. The aims of the GOF are to achieve clearly defined green outcomes, encourage greater capital allocation to green businesses by local fund managers, and catalyse high quality, consistent reporting of green impacts. As the project manager at GreenCape, for the Green Outcomes Fund, Yahna Maharaj’s job is to manage project deliverables that include creating green jobs, green outcomes and tracking the flow of investments from local fund managers to green SMMEs. She also verifies the outcomes achieved and disburses grant funding accordingly. She works directly with fund managers and grant funders to understand barriers to the growth of green SMMEs, and provides support and develops solutions to these problems. “Engaging with fund managers also allows us to understand the challenges that investors face, and how GreenCape can utilise their network and resources to unlock some of these barriers,” says Maharaj. The goal of the GOF is to encourage local fund managers to use new approaches and financing models, to target high potential and fast-growing SMMEs operating in South Africa’s green economy. The GOF blends concessionary funding with private capital, thus enabling participating catalytic finance partners to develop and adapt their SMME investment criteria and support services in ways that were not previously possible — which realises greater effect in terms of the types of SMMEs funded and green outcomes created.
What’s been your/the organisation’s greatest achievement in your field?
Supporting green small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) by increasing investments to green SMMEs. Creating green jobs through these investments and measuring the green impact of SMMEs in the energy, circular economy, water and agricultural sectors. Removing barriers to growth for SMMEs in the green economy.
Please provide specific examples of how your/your organisation’s practices and work have a positive effect on the environment
Our technical knowledge of the green economy, particularly in the circular economy, water, energy and agricultural sectors, has allowed us to provide market-related intel to green SMMEs. We have also provided technical skills to verify the green impact measured. In addition, through our network, we have been able to provide post-investment support mechanisms to thriving green SMMEs.
What are some of the biggest environmental challenges faced by South Africans today?
High carbon emissions, inefficient use of resources and high generation of waste that ends up on landfill sites.
Our theme this year is Celebrating Environment Heroes. What do you believe could be the repercussions for millions of people in South Africa and the continent if we do not tackle problems exacerbated by climate change, encompassing issues like drought, floods, fires, extreme heat, biodiversity loss, and pollution of air and water?
If these issues are not tackled, then ecosystems will shrink dramatically and eventually collapse. Our quality of life will be negatively affected and the availability of food, water and other resources required for our well-being.